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SPE-04   automated online SPE system

image showing PromoChrom's automated online SPE system SPE-04

Higher sensitivity. Faster. Increased column life.

Taking sample preparation to the next level

  • Integration with LC/LC-MS
  • Online derivatization
  • Two-tier online solid phase extraction  Learn More
See specs SPE-04 brochure SPE-04 video

The online SPE system not only performs automated solid phase extraction, it also delivers the cleaned up samples directly to your LC/LC-MS for analysis. Using just a simple cable and tubing connection, the SPE-04 can synchronize its operations with the LC/LC-MS to prepare and analyze samples in parallel.


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All-in-one SPE solution

image of PromoChrom's online automated SPE-04 integrated with HPLC and MS

SPE-04 is a flexible and versatile platform for automated online solid phase extraction. The full system is capable of :

Offline SPE
Online derivatization with
Normal sample injection
controlled temperature
Online SPE

Two-tier online SPE

Show Full Automation Process ...

Wash needle
Condition SPE cartridge with 1-2 solvents
Load Sample
Elute with 1-2 solvents
Collect fraction
Derivatize with 1-2 reagents at controlled temperature
Inject to HPLC
Solvent modulation
Load onto 2nd SPE column
Remove Particles
Inject to HPLC
Trigger to start HPLC


image of PromoChrom's online automated SPE-04 working beside HPLC control software

Works with any HPLC that has remote input

User friendly software simplifies operation and integration with HPLC

Does not interfere with LC-MS software

Sample Capacity 25 or 36 sequential
Sample Volume 0.5 to 4/8/20 mL depending on sample container
Flow Rate 1 to 30 mL/min
Dimensions 34 cm x 42 cm x 35 cm
Weight 12 kg
Applications Forensic drugs, biological samples and pesticide residue
Special Features Computer not required in offline mode, dedicated SPE cartridge for each sample, small footprint

Part Numbers

SPE-04-01 Offline SPE model
SPE-04-02 Online SPE model, with sample injection for HPLC
MOD-001 Add two-tier online SPE function
MOD-002 Add online derivatization function
See brochure

Setup and Operation

SPE-04 online solid phase extraction system can be integrated with HPLC by connecting to the HPLC's remote trigger and sample inlet using our provided cable and tubing.

The simple push-button interface on the system can store up to 3 different methods and is sufficient for most applications. To store and access more methods, users can use our computer software.

Example : Setup for direct analysis of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) in tap water at ppt level using PromoChrom's online SPE (dotted line area) coupled with HPLC :

Diagram of Promochrom's online SPE Coupled with HPLC

The HPLC system includes an Agilent G1310A isocratic pump and a G1314A variable wavelength detector. Since the online SPE takes care of sample loading and injection, the HPLC only needs a pump, a detector, and a computer with the ChemStation software.

Through specially designed valves and syringe pumps, the online SPE transfers samples to the SPE column and then to the HPLC system. Users only need to select the necessary actions, such as “load sample”, “add reagent 1”, “inject”, “start LC”, etc.

Image of PromoChrom online SPE Software

Our device uses a remote signal to trigger the start of HPLC. While the HPLC is running a sample, the online SPE can start extracting the next sample. This overlapped introduction reduces sample preparation time.

Two-tier Online SPE

From hours down to minutes. PPB detection limit with HPLC.

Application Note

Integration of solid phase extraction or cartridge cleanup with chromatographic analysis may take two approaches :

  • Direct Coupling - sample loaded in cleanup cartridge is completely transferred to analytical column using a switching valve
  • Diagram of direct online SPE approach
  • Indirect Coupling - sample treated like in the case of standalone SPE. Portion of collected fraction is then injected into the analytical column using an autosampler
  • Diagram of indirect online SPE approach
Direct ApproachSignificantly higher sensitivity and faster throughputSPE cartridge to analytical column compatibility issues.

Difficult to regenerate SPE cartridge, a hassle to change online SPE cartridge installed on high pressure switching valve
Indirect ApproachDecoupled from HPLC column, small injection volume, therefore no compatibility issues.

No online SPE cartridge to replace.
Lower sensitivity

Much more time consuming

To overcome the disadvantages of the two online SPE approaches while maintaining their advantages, PromoChrom developed the two-tier online SPE solution.

  1. Samples are first processed like in the case of offline standalone SPE
  2. The collected fraction is then modified using a solvent and then transferred to a second online SPE cartridge on a switching valve
Diagram of two-tier online SPE approach

The first SPE treatment removes most of the interference. The second online SPE cartridge is used for enrichment and further cleanup. Since most of the particulates are trapped by the offline SPE cartridge, the lifetime of the online cartridge is considerably extended. This reduces the need to change out the online SPE cartridge. Other benefits include :

  • Reduced peak broadening
  • Reduced background noise
  • Large volume sample introduction - achieving ppb detection limit for analysis of PAH in water using HPLC UV detector

For more information, check out our poster or application note.